Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution?

Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution?

Delhi is facing more than just deadly pollution. The city has just come under a scheme for beating air pollution using an odd-even formula. Even as Delhites complain of the inconvenience, CM Arvind Kejriwal has proposed a way to combat pollution that is based on numbers. According to the formula, odd and even numbered private cars (and this includes two wheelers) will only be allowed to run on Delhi roads on alternate days. For example, Monday is for even numbered cars while Tuesday would be for odd numbered cars. So, will the deciding digits play an important role in doing away with pollution? Or is the odd-even formula just a pipe dream? Let’s analyse and see who has the winning numbers.

It won’t work!

1. Infrastructural bottlenecks are too many - There are too many infrastructural hurdles in effectively implementing this scheme. For starters, the traffic police has voiced its inability to implement the formula given a lack of manpower and resources. Even if the scheme is worth implementing, just how smooth and seamless would the implementation process be, given the massive logistics problem?

2. Poor public transport system is a big minus - The current public transportation system in Delhi is extremely poor both in terms of quality and timeliness. This will add to the confusion and create further problems for daily commuters.

3. What about emergencies? - Through emergency vehicles like ambulance, police and fire brigade will be spared, private cars and two wheelers will not be. Who says that emergencies cannot arise where private cars may need to be driven on the roads, for example, in cases where ambulances are not available on time? In such cases, how are the citizens supposed to manage?

4. An anarchical traffic system will add to the mess - Delhi and other urban centres have haphazard road traffic and accidents are also on the rise. Adding further to this, if the odd even formula is implemented, more confusion will ensue on the roads rather than genuine abatement of air pollution

5. Beating the odd-even formula - Delhites who are affluent have already planned to buy a car with odd and another with even digits to ensure that they can use the roads on all days. Such schemes for beating the system are increasing the number of cars/ two wheelers being owned, contributing to rising pollution and defeating the very purpose for which the scheme was first implemented.

6. Busy professionals will be inconvenienced - Doctors, lawyers, journalists and corporate workers who need to reach work on time will have lesser options at their disposal to make it during their daily commute. This will also impact the functioning of the economy of the state in a negative manner. Even senior citizens and the disabled will be inconvenienced by this step.

7. What about the referendum? - AAP government has said it is for common man, so the number formula should have been put to vote to see which side has the winning percentage of the majority. Instead, this scheme has been imposed without prior consultation and goes against the spirit of democracy, so it will not work.

8. Safety factor - It’s definitely a problem for lady commuters if cars and 2 wheelers are banned for certain days forcing them to take up public transport. The public transport system is not safe for women. Consider the numbers provided by the NCRB which state that crimes in cabs and buses are on rise. The Nirbhaya case and the Uber rape case are living examples of just how safe public transport is for women workers in this city.

9. The numbers don’t add up - According to current records, 20 lakh vehicles ply Delhi roads while 5 lakh pass through the city. On weekdays, the total number of cars on the road is more than 20 lakhs. Delhi only has 5936 traffic cops. What’s more, 30% of these are deployed on VIP duties. Who will implement this scheme, especially in unsafe areas?

10. Impractical - The system is impractical. If you decide to go to an event tonight, wish to stay back & come back next day, you can’t use your car. This makes taking the holidays or a fun night out impossible.

Yes, it will work!

1. Trial now, permanent later - The scheme has been taken on trial basis for a fortnight. This will be easy for it to be implemented permanently at a later date because all the hurdles associated with it will be tackled at the trial stage

2. Delhi’s air pollution is deadly - Records show Delhi has PM of less than 2.5 which is deadly. In some areas, the pollution levels are toxic. High number of deaths and diseases are the result.

3. If Beijing and Mexico can do it, so can we - Beijing has imposed restrictions on movement and pollution causing activities after smog enveloped the capital city of China. Mexico successfully implemented a formula much like the odd-even recipe and met with success. So, why will it not work in Delhi?

4. Car sharing and pooling will rise - In case of emergencies, citizens can opt for car sharing and car pooling. This will conserve resources, be affordable and also prevent air pollution from its deadly grasp over Delhi’s atmosphere.

5. We should not hide behind excuses - Delhi has been identified as a gas chamber by the SC itself. If the highest court in the land is declaring the air in the capital city to be unsafe for breathing, we have to realise that the problem has reached alarming proportions. For such a case, equally drastic measures are needed. The odd-even formula works well in this context.

6. It just requires some organisation and planning - This formula will work well if it is implemented in a disciplined and systematic manner. This includes making prior travel arrangements and having the right approach towards public transport.

7. It will increase state revenue : By promoting public transportation, the state will not only get the revenue to maintain roads and infrastructure, but also upgrade the quality of public transport so that it can match the needs and expectations of the people. This is a win-win situation, with reference to this particular numbers game.


Numbers are everything when it comes to considering the challenges this formula represents. On the one hand, there are compelling reasons why this scheme needs to be implemented. On the other hand, implementing it will only add to problems for citizens and the States. No scheme is perfect. But this particular formula could be successful, if there is infrastructure and support for it. Only then can Delhi government’s vision of a pollution free city translate into reality.
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  • RE: Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution? -HDL (12/08/15)
  • NO Absolutely not
    1.what will happen in emergency
    2.Autowallah ask 3-4 times the fare .(Complaint karein ya office college ghar jayein.)
    Yesterday autowallah asked Rs220 for 5km.
    3. One will buy new odd/even car ,can also go in taxi if has money .In this case only polluting MEDIUM WILL CHANGE,not pollution.
    4.No last mile connectivity .3-5 km after metro and bus stand is a major issue.Who will ensure safe cheap and timely last mile connectivity. Whole Delhi not lives in VIP zone who have to travel 3-4 km in lush green environment.
    5.China Paris have developed public transport.they do not have to go to 40-50 km by bus metro.the mostly go 7-8km.
    6.People will reach office late . Their will be a chaos.
    7.All localities can not have car pool facility.
    8.Metro buses are already packed like goods container during peak hour.
    (this step will increase the business of pick pockets)

    1.Ban old polluting vehicle.
    2.Shut industries 3-4 days till pollution comes down.
    3.Reduce one working day.Netherlands and other countries have done it without decreasing salary and declining quality and quantity of production.So why we can not. It will reduce the car who go to office.
    4 PUC checking drive should be done.
    5.Adopting PHYTOREMEDIATION(cleaning air with special plants which attracts dusts toxics and grown with their help). This will also add beauty and reduce pollution.
    6.Employment opportunity should be near the residence like in foreign countries. Less traveling less pollution. Good output.
  • RE: Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution? -Deepa Kaushik (12/08/15)
  • Delhi’s odd-even formula has been set to be implemented in a hurry. We cannot compare ourselves with any other country or city in the world and copy any of their concept as it is in a go. We need to think of our present scenario, circumstances and culture in our country before implementing any such formula.

    We are dreaming of becoming a manufacturing hub, but the reality is that the majority of our population still finds its income from the multi-national units established here. This is where we work as the customer service executives for other countries. When we work for other countries, we need to work as per their clock which means we work round the clock. Just forget the odd hours; are we anywhere near to suffice the population with public transport even in the daytime?

    It is neither a joke nor a story line to implement anything anytime. The place where people are so much incorporated into their work life that they hardly know their neighbours, how can we expect people to rely on the neighbours to help them in case of emergency. And why would their vehicle be available on the day when their car could actually ply on roads. So, do we need to make the dying patient lie on the death bed in the mercy of ambulances which has to cross the hurdle of huge city-traffic before reaching the patient?

    What do we mean by having trial for a fortnight? Are we trying how much emergency condition could be and whether the patient would actually die or not? Are we trying out how many companies are going to kick out the employees for reaching late at work on regular basis? Are we trying to have more nirbhaya like cases? Don’t we need to rectify the law and order situation in the country before making our females dependent on the public transport? Don’t we need to increase the public transport in its number and frequency before making people handicapped without their own vehicle?

    The odd-even formula is not bad to be condemn. But we need to evaluate the pros and cons before implementing the same. The analysis just requires some common-sense and not a trial. We need to make ourselves well equipped before going ahead with such formulations.
  • RE: Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution? -SUNIL kUMAR yADAV (12/07/15)
  • The name of Delhi is in one of most polluted city in India as well as in world and it is only because of industrialization surrounding the Delhi from all side. The livelihood of a man residing at Delhi are in trouble, now today it has become cause of concern for the people of Delhi. If solution for the same would not search earliest. It would be a drastic challenge.

    The decision taken by the AAP Govt was quit good for some aspect but not everlasting because :-

    1. The equation of odd and even will definitely stay on the pollution level but not going to solve the problem anymore for the people of Delhi even it will enhance the inconvenience.
    2. and what about the case of emergency.
    3. The safety of Girl would be in trouble due to 2nd and 3rd shift of night.
    4. Rich people will bring some more vehicle with both even and sum numbers.
    5. This will give rise to corruption.

    what should govt do to coup with this :-
    1. establish more metro lines to enhance connectivity in city.

    2. Bring More LNG bushes on road connecting each and every route of Delhi and increase frequency of the same.

    3. Ban on establishing industry and shift existing industry at safer place.

    4. Install Air purifier devices at large scale to provide fresh air.

    5. Impose heavy penalties on breaking rules

  • RE: Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution? -BHARATHIKANNAN (12/07/15)
  • People are outraged. They will not tolerate this. How will they manage for two whole weeks—actually seven days—without their cars?
    First of all, this is Delhi, where being ill-informed and rich is a virtue. Most people have multiple cars and will just take out their second or third or fourth car—or buy a new one if required—to get around this rule. The latter is what happened in Mexico City after this rule was implemented. Take for example the tweet by the complete man, Gautam Singhania, “Ridiculous rule in Delhi to have odd even number cars on alternate days. What happens to people who have only one car?” Poor chap doesn’t seem to realize we aren’t being encouraged to use all our cars, and not just focus on our favourite. The whole point of the exercise has dodged him. He’s not alone in his strange concept of what Kejriwal is proposing and is symptomatic of the usual mindset in Delhi.
  • RE: Will Delhi’s odd-even formula work to counter pollution? -BHARATHIKANNAN (12/07/15)
  • Delhi is a metrpolitan city as there were many upper middle people are there.They are using mostly the cars rather than bikes.Number of bike users and car users are increasing day by day.Pollution is increasing day by day.It is hazardous to individual and also to society.right?So,This scheme will give a good success in future, because per year 2.5 million tonnes of smokes are mixing in air.Thus by implementing the scheme there will be reduction of pollutatnts mixing air and other componnets.It is a god initiative.Already Mexico brought a wonderful success through this scheme.Why cant Delhi?.People will surely support for this.No scheme is perfect.We people have to be united and we have to utilise public transport and increase the revenue for goverment.Alternate usage will be difficult i accept that,But in future by pollution we cant lead a healthy life.We sholud that keep that in mind and we should co-operate to implement this odd-even formula.There are many number of merits and demerits behind this scheme.We should believe that goverment will take necessary actions to trap the demerits and take that to concern to finalise the scheme in an effecient way.